Paris (AFP)

The National Rugby League (LNR) on Monday authorized clubs to recruit "international jokers" in response to the extension of the international window decided by World Rugby, a decision strongly denounced by the NRL.

"Each club will have the ability to recruit an international joker for each player in its workforce made available to its national team during the fall of 2020", explains the NRL in a press release.

"The number of international jokers recruited by a club is limited to 2", specifies the League, which adds that "the duration of the contract of an international joker cannot go beyond December 20, 2020".

This decision echoes World Rugby's change to rule 9, which governs the release of internationals. The international body thus authorized on July 30 the Federations of the northern hemisphere to organize 6 matches over 7 weekends between the end of October and the beginning of December to allow a sporting and financial catching up of the meetings canceled at the end of the winter and in the summer by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The LNR considers the extension of the fall testing period "unbalanced and unfair" and therefore presents a first alternative to the Top 14 and Pro D2 clubs.

A player who joined a team under the status of international joker "could be kept as + additional player + without it being counted in the two additional authorized players", foresees the press release.

Meeting on Monday, the LNR Steering Committee also validated the gradual reduction in the salary cap (salary cap) from the 2021/2022 season.

"For the 2020-2021 season, the salary cap is unchanged at 11.3 million euros. It will be lowered over the next 4 seasons," he said.

In detail, the salary cap will be 11 million euros for the 2021-2022 season, 10.7 million euros for the 2022-2023 season, 10.4 million euros for the 2023-2024 season and 10 million euros for the 2024-2025 season, a total decrease of 1.3 million euros.

In addition, a “remuneration observatory” will be made available to Top 14 clubs so that they “benefit from access to statistical data on the professional player market”.

© 2020 AFP